Site of Service Transition Creates New Career Opportunities for Anesthesiologists

career opportunities for anesthesiologists

Despite how difficult change can be in healthcare, ASC and office-based surgery continues to explode. This site of service transition is creating new career opportunities for anesthesiologists, so much so that a whopping 81% of anesthesiologists are employed in outpatient settings.

This means for anesthesiologists, CRNAs, and anesthesiology assistants, the routine of early mornings, rotating late shifts, overnight shifts, call, weekends, and holidays are changing from inevitable to an option, closing out the non-voluntary 60, 70, even 80 hour work weeks.

Despite that 81% statistic, it’s important to recognize that most surgery centers are staffed by an anesthesiologist group that are still working with a hospital, therefore anesthesiologists are often required to split their time between the surgery center and hospital. This means, at best, only a partial transition to a better schedule. Fortunately, with the rise of office-based surgical practices, and dedicated ambulatory anesthesiologist groups, there are more pathways to escape to a more “normal” work schedule.

While ASCs can “feel” more like a hospital, it’s still important to recognize that the office-based setting is not for everyone. To determine if this environment is right for you, there’s still a lot to consider. Let’s get into it.

Asking Yourself and Practice Leadership the Right Questions about Office-Based Anesthesia

When working in a hospital or surgery center there are typically other anesthesiologists and critical care personnel on site. If an emergency happens, you press a blue light and people come running. While an office-focused anesthesiology group should support its anesthesia team with paramedics and nurses above and beyond what a surgeon may also have available, the algorithm for immediate support is just not the same in an office. It requires anesthesiologists to be confident in their skills ready to handle any emergency that may arise. It probably already feels like second nature to ask about an anesthesia group’s patient safety record, but transparency can be different group to group, so consider this your reminder to always ask.

Additionally, an office-based anesthesia group should have staff in place to support the patient selection process to ensure each patient is a good fit for an office procedure. Surgeon selection is equally important, as you want to make sure the physician is working within the bounds of what’s safe to do in an office. This is handled for you when working for a practice that vets the surgeons and proceduralists with a rigorous credentialing process.

It’s also important to not underestimate the simplicity of an office-based setting. The overall volume of procedures may be less, but the pace of the procedures themselves is quick. In an office environment there are time constraints, having patients awake and ready to go is key to achieving the tight turnaround time typical in an office setting.

Finally, an often-overlooked responsibility of working in an office setting is the customer service anesthesiologists must provide to both surgeons and patients. For the right personality, this is a plus as it keeps things interesting, adding an extra component not typically required in the hospital setting. However, it also changes who is a good fit. Anesthesiologists that are considering transitioning to the office-based setting need to ask themselves if they are ready to take on this extra dimension to their work that requires the utmost patience, clear communication skills, and the ability to collaborate to satisfy the needs of the physician clients as well as their mutual patients.

Career Opportunities for Anesthesiologists mean a Brighter Future

As elective procedures can employ better techniques and technology (and insurance carriers come to see the savings associated with performing procedures in-office!), the market will continue to explode. More routine procedures have already moved away from hospitals and ASCs and into office-based settings, with more and more approved every year. This site of service transition creates career opportunities for anesthesiologists, especially those that want to specialize in a particular area such as orthopedics, urology, gastroenterology, gynecology, oral surgery, even dental!

For anesthesiologists tired of the daily hospital grind, this is the hope they’ve been looking for. No more part timing for a better life, you can full-time with a better schedule, in a better environment, and focus on the two things that matter most: your family and caring for patients.

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